The Olympic Games confirmed what most people already suspected, that Luciano De Cecco is the best setter in the world. And it isn’t even really close. There are lots of plays one could choose to show his greatness. How he manipulates the opposing middle with the first tempo. How he keeps the whole court open. His glorious touch on the ball. But the one that I have chosen is a ‘simple’ high ball.
You might not see anything special here. Indeed you might even wonder why did he fall down on that play. But the falling down part is exactly what makes this play great. Most coaches teach their setters to stay on their feet. Many coaches would probably say that falling down here is a ‘lazy’ play. Indeed most of the other top setters in the world do stay on their feet. There is logic in that, feet on the ground supposedly increases balance etc, but does it actually lead to a good set?
The key to making a good set here, and not just keeping it in play, is for the impulse to come from behind the ball. From the angle of approach in this clip, to be behind the ball requires three or four more steps, which the setter does not have time for, or the falling, rolling move the De Cecco does, and does perfectly. If you watch more of the Olympics you will see over and over again De Cecco ‘getting dirty’ to serve his spikers and other setters staying on their feet and spraying the ball everywhere.
It turns out that staying on your feet is the lazy play.
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